Natalie Savelyeva

Gandharva tradition of music: definition of jati

Grama, Murchana and Jati are technical terms that were used in such works like Natya Sastra of Bharata and Dattilam of Dattila. These two works were written between the 1st or the 4th century A.D. The musical tradition described in these works is called "gandharva".

Definition of Jatis

In ancient Indian theater contemporary songs (gana) were associated with particular modes (jati), containing melodic characteristics (lakshana) that were supposed to evoke aesthetically codified emotional responses (rasa) in the audience. Every mode (jati) and every melodic form (raga) had its specific samvadin relationships.

Jati (jati means class or type) are logical classifications , that is to say, a series if melodic abstractions devised by theoreticians to classify contemporary melodies in conformity with the rules of dramatic art.

Unlike murchana-s (which are based on the three grama-s), jati-s are based on two grama-s (sadja and madhyama) only. Each Jati did not denote an individual melody or melodic type but encompassed several melodic types.

Jati-s are eighteen in number. All the eighteen jati-s were classified under the two grama-s.

Sadja Grama Jati Madhyama Grama Jati
1
Sadji
3
Gandhari
2
Arisabhi
4
Madhyama
6
Dhaivati
5
Pancami
7
Naisadi
11
Gandharodicyava
8
Sadjodicyava
12
Madhyamodicyava
9
Sadjakaisiki
13
Gandharapancami
10
Sadjamadhyama
14
Raktagandhari
15
Kaisiki
16
Karmaravi
17
Andhri
18
Nandayanti

The first seven jati-s are based on the names of the seven svara-s and hence were called "Svarajati" or "Namasvarajati". The eleven jati-s apart from the seven svarajati, were called vikritasamsarga jatis.

Svarajati-s are of two kinds:

  1. Suddhajati - that variety of the svarajati is called suddha, which has the svara after which it is named, as its amsa, graha, nyasa and apanyasa; the nyasa not occurring in the tara-sthana and when it has all the seven svara-s (sampurna jati).

    For example, if in the svarajati called sadji, the svara sadja is the amsa, graha, nyasa and apanyasa, and when sadja does not occur as the nyasa in the tara-sthana and also when it is sampurna (having all the seven svara-s), that variety of sadji jati is called the suddha variety of sadji.

  2. Vikratajati - If any one of these conditions are changed (in the graha, amsa), it is called the vikrita variety. For example, in sadji, instead of sadja, if gandhara is the graha or amsa or apanyasa or if nisada is omitted, then it is called the vikrita variety of sadji.

Ten Lakshanas (characteristics) of Jatis

The description of the various sub-jati-s constituting a jati-class was given through a number of characteristics (lakshana-s). The following ten lakshana-s are specified in Natya Sastra and Dattila:

  1. Graha
  2. Amsa
  3. Tara
  4. Mandra
  5. Nyasa
  6. Apanyasa
  7. Alpatva
  8. Bahutva
  9. Sadava
  10. Auduva

1. Graha

Graha refers to the svara with which a melody commences. The amsa svara-s are the graha svara-s too, in case a svara which is not an amsa svara becomes the graha, then it is indicated separately.

For instance, in the sadji jati, sadja, gandhara, madhyama, pancama and dhaivata are fit to be the amsa svara-s. These svara-s are also the grahasvara-s.

2. Amsa

Amsa is the svara on which the beauty of the song depends. Among all the characteristics of a jati, amsa plays a dominant role. The scale or the sequence of svara-s of a jati is determined only by the amsa svara.

The samvadi (highly consonant) and anuvadi (fairly consonant) svara-s of the amsa svara are prominent/principal svara-s of the given jati. The range of the melody in the upper register is determined by the amsa svara.

For example, in the sadji jati (since it is a jati of the sadjagrama), of the five amsasvara-s, namely, sa, ga, ma, pa and dha, if sadja is the amsa, then its scale would be thus:

4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni.

If gandhara is the amsa, then the scale is:

2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri

If madhyama is the amsa, then the scale is:

4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga

In the same way, in the pancami jati, which belongs to madhyamagrama, when pancama is the amsa, the scale would be:

3pa 4dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma

3. Tara

Tara denotes the upper limit of the range of the melody of a jati. Generally, the fifth svara from the amsasvara is called the tara. If in a jati, one or two svara-s are omitted, then while calculating the tara svara, the omitted svara-s are also to be counted.

4. Mandra

Mandra indicates the svara up to which the melodic movement can descend. There are three conditions for rendering the melodic movement in the mandrasthana.

  1. the range up to the amsasvara
  2. the range up to the nyasasvara
  3. the range extending up to risabha or dhaivata beyond the nyasasvara

5. Nyasa

Nyasa is the svara on which the gita or the song finally concludes.

6. Apanyasa

Apanyasa is the svara on which a section of a song concludes.

7. Alpatva

Alpatva denotes the svara which is rendered weak in a melody. A svara could be rendered weak in two ways.

  1. Langhana - means skipping a svara by just touching it.
  2. Anabhyasa - means doing an action again and again or frequently. Anabhyasa means doing an action infrequently. The svara which is not handled frequently is a kind of alpatva.

Further, the svara which is being omitted in a jati, is usually the alpa-svara of the jati in its sampurna form.

Note: However in case, the sadavasvara (svara to be omitted) happens to be the samvadi-svara of one of the amsasvara-s and when that particular amsa-svara is the presiding one, then that sadavasvara should not be omitted. For instance, sadji jati has five amsasvara-s, namely, sa, ga, ma, pa and dha. In this jati, nisada can be omitted to bring about the sadava variety. But when gandhara serves as the presiding amsa, nisada, which is the samvadisvara to gandhara, should not be omitted.

8. Bahutva

That svara which is very strong in a melody is called Bahutva. A svara becomes strong by two ways/methods:

  1. Alanghana - refers to a svara not being skipped.
  2. Abhyasa - refers to the use of a particular svara more frequently.

All amsasvara-s in a jati and their samvadi svara-s are "bahutva" in nature.

9. Sadava

When a melody consists of six svara-s, it is called sadava. The svara that is omitted is called among the seven svara-s, is called the sadavasvara.

10. Auduva

When a melody consists of five svara-s, it is called auduva. The two svara-s that are to be omitted to make a jati are called auduva-svara-s.

Note: It cannot be said that one or two svara-s are omitted in all the eighteen jati-s. For example, jati-s like sadjakaisiki, madhyamodicyava, karmaravi and gandharapancami are always complete (sampurna). They do not have the sadava and auduva varieties. On the other hand, andhri. and nandayanti can be rendered in the sadava form by omitting one svara, but do not have the auduva varieties.

Eighteen Jatis

According to ten lakshanas, described above, each jati is defined. Definition if Jatis we can find in Natya Sastra, Dattilam, Sangitasiromani, Sangitasuddha, and Sangitaratnakara. The most complrehensive description is given in the latter text, where one jati-gita (composition created in the particular jati) is given.

Whereas Natyasastra treats the murchana separately, in early medieval times, Matanga, the author of Brihaddesi (dated before the eighth century AD) and other theoreticians associate these octave scales with particular modes (jati) and melodic forms (raga). In most cases the first note of the murcana is identical with one of the prominent notes in a particular jati or raga, such as graha (initial note), amsa (dominant) or nyasa (final note). At the same time pentatonic and hexatonic tonal patterns (tana) were used to create variety (anyatva) in the medieval jati and raga.

One important comeent should be put here. According to Natya sastra, Madhyama grama is construed by "lowering pa for one sruti". In our time it sounds wierd, because now a days, we have 22 sruti scale, in which pa has only one variety, i.e. major consonants are sa and pa, their positions cannot be altered. During the time of Bharata, Dattila. etc. the major consonants were sa and ma, as Bharata puts it in Natya Sastra "ma should never be dropped". Thus, they considered ma as having only one variety (contemporary m1), and pa as having two varieties - contemporary pa and M2 (the latter being one sruti lower then pa).

Taking into account above mentioned feature, we should consider M2 as variety of pa (in Madhyama grama). Thus, references made in definitions of Madhyama jatis to "pa" should be considered as references to M2.

Scale comprising 22 svarasthanas

The second thing which should be noted is, now a days we use 22 sruti scale. It was not like that in times of Bharata, Dattila, etc. They did speak of 22 srutis, but not every one of 22 srutis was given particular svara. Three scales mentioned in treatises comprise intervals of 2, 3, and 4 srutis. Difference melody patterns were constructed by shifting tonic to different svarasthanas. At this, number of svarasthanas was limited to seven major notes of sadja grama plus two saddharana svaras (antara gandhara and kakali nisada) and pa lowered for one sruti (in Madhyama grama).

Thus, in order to understand the ancient scheme better, I used contemporary 22 sruti notation of svarasthanas (i.e. s, r1, r2, R1, R2, g1, g2, G1, G2, etc., refer to Calculation of 22 sruti for details) which helps a lot to understand the intervals between the svaras described in treatises and link them with contemporary musical notation scheme. Importance of creating such link becomes very evident if we want to translate those ancient melodic patterns into modern scale with fixed tonic (sa). We have to shift tonic and keep intervals between svarasthanas intact.

1. Sadji Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Sadja -

Uttarayata

D1 n1 s R1 g1 m1 p

D1,s,g1,m1,p g1,p s n1 - n1, R1 g1

vira, raudra,

adbhuta, sringara

Notes: Sa is separated by one swara from g1 and D1. The major consonants are D1-s-g1 (corresponding intervals in srutis: D1 (6) sa (5) g1).

If g1 is amsa, n1 is its samvadi, thus cannot be dropped in sadava or auduva, i.e. sadava exists only for s,m1,p,D1 amsas.

Sangati (here equal to sancari, or to and fro movement). Kallinatha in his commentrary on Sangitaratnakara (1-7-61) defines the nature of this movement. "Here in sadji the note sadja should be associated with the two notes gandhara and dhaivata, both of which are one note removed from it. The movement should be aesthetically satisfying. The phrase rendered should be either sa ga sa ga sa dha, or ga sa ga sa dha sa."

Sadharana svara is kakali nisada (N1). If sa is Vadi, nisada is Kakali (2 sruti from sa).

Jati gitam:

2. Arisabhi Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Sadja -

Suddhasadja

p D1 n1 s R1 g1 m1

D1,n1,R1 D1,n1,R1 R1 s s,p p n1

vira, raudra,

adbhuta

Notes: g1-n1 are bi-srutis.

Abhinavagupta in his commentary on Natya Sastra (NS 28, 98) notes two sangatis in this jathi: one between sa and dha and another between ri and ga.

All authors mention p as langana (alpatva) in this jathi. Abhinavagupta also notes that when this jathi is purna (saptatonic), sa, ga, pa are alpa notes. When this jathi is audavita (pentatonic) ga and ma are weak notes.

Jati gita:

3. Gandhari Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama -

Pauravi

D1 n1 s R1 g1 m1 M2

n1,s,g1,m1,p(M2) s,p(M2) g1 R1 D1,R1 D1,R1 - karuna

Notes: p(M2)-R1 are samvadi. There is no sadava if p(M2) is amsa; and there is no auduva for n1,s,m1,p(M2) amsas.

If Jathi is purna (all seven notes), its characteristic movement is from D1 to R1.

Jati gita:

4. Madhyama Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama -

Kalopanata

R1 g1 m1 M2 D1 n1 s

R1,m1,p,D1,s R1,m1,p,D1,s m1 g1 g1,n1 g1 s,m1 sringara, hasya

Note: m1 and s are amsas of special profusion. Abhinavagupta explains: "bahutva of sa and ma is self-evident, for they are paryamsas. It should be undestood from special injunction, that they are more then normally strong here."

Even in purna form (septatonic), ga is particularly weak here.

Jati gita:

5. Pancami Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama -

Kalopanata

R1 g1 m1 M2 D1 n1 s

R1,p(M2) R1,p(M2),n1 p g1 g1,n1 g1,m1,s R1 sringara, hasya

Notes: g1-n1 are consonants. No auduva for R1-amsa.

Sangati of this jathi are between ma and ri. Another minor sangati is between ni and ga. (Sangati in a movement between two notes, when Sancara is movement over many notes).

Jati gita:

6. Dhaivati Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Sadja -

Abhirudgata

R1 g1 m1 p D1 n1 s

R1,D1 R1,m1,D1 D1 p p,s p,s R1,g1,D1

bibhatsa,

bhayanaka, vira

Note: Bharata in Natya Sastra mentions that when this jathi is purna, sa and pa should be employed only in ascent, but otherwise langana should be applied..

Jati gita:

7. Naisadi Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Sadja -

Asvakranta

g1 m1 p D1 n1 s R1

g1,n1,R1 g1,n1,R1 n1 p p,s p,s g1,D1,R1

karuna, vira,

adbhuta

Jati gita:

8. Sadjodicyava Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Sadja Sadji, Gandhari, Dhaivati

Asvakranta

g1 m1 p D1 n1 s R1

m1,D1,n1,s D1,s m1 R1 R1,p R1 mandra g1, tara s and R1 hasya, sringara

Notes: R1-D1 are samvadi; no sadava and auduva for D1-amsa.

Jati gita:

9. Sadjakaisiki Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Sadja Gandhari, Sadji ??? s,g,p s,p,n g - - r,m d,n karuna, sringara, hasya

Notes: d,n are more profuse then r,m, but less profuse then s,g,p. The most weak not is ri, ma is also weak.

Jati gita:

10. Sadjamadhyama Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Sadja Sadji, Madhyama

Matsarikrita

m1 p D1 n1 s R1 g1

m1,p,D1,n1,s,R1,g1 m1,p,D1,n1,s,R1,g1 m1,s n1 g1,n1 n1 -

sringara,

adbhuta, vira

Notes: g1-n1 are samvadi and bi-srutis; thus there is no sadava and auduva for g1,n1-amsa.

All seven notes are amsas in this jathi (this is the only jathi which has no anamsas, or the notes different from amsas). Thus, all notes are equally strong, and we can move over all notes freely.

Jati gita:

11. Gandharodicyava Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Sadji, Pancami, Dhaivati

Pauravi

D1 n1 s R1 g1 m1 M2

s,m1 s,D1 m1 R1 - R1 mandra g1 sringara, adbhuta, hasya

Notes: R1-D1 are samvadi.

Jati gita:

12. Madhyamodicyava Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Gandhari, Pancami, Madhyama, Dhaivati

Sauviri

m1 M2 D1 n1 s R1 g1

p(M2) D1,s m1 - - m1,g1 sringara

Note: Abhinavagupta mentions that ma and ga are used copiously in this jathi.

Jati gita:

13. Gandharapancami Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Gandhari, Pancami

Harinasva

g1 m1 M2 D1 n1 s R1

p(M2) R1,p(M2) g1 - - - - sringara, hasya, karuna

Notes: g1-p(M2) are samvadi.

Sancaras of these jathi are taken from Gandhari and Pancami jathis: dha to ri (gandhari), ma to ri (predominant sancari of pancami jathi), and ni to ga (secondary sancari of pancami jathi).

Jati gita:

14. Raktagandhari Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Gandhari, Pancami, Naisadi

Kalopanata

R1 g1 m1 M2 D1 n1 s

g1,m1,p,n1,s m1 g1 R1 R1,D1 D1,n1 sringara, hasya

Notes: s is samvadi with m1 and pa; g1 is samvadi with ni1.

The special movement in this jathi is from sa to ga, without sounding ri (Bharata). Abhinava also mentions that ri should be skipped in moving from sa to ga and back, thus bringing these two notes together.

Jati gita:

15. Kaisiki Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Sadji, Gandhari, Madhyama, Pancami, Naisadi

Harinasva

g1 m1 M2 D1 n1 s R1

g1,m1,p(M2),

D1,n1,s

g1,m1,p(M2),

D1,n1,s/R1

g1,p(M2),n1 R1 R1,D1 R1 n1,p(M2) sringara, hasya

Notes: no sadava, auduva for p,D1-amsas.

p(M2) is Nyasa if n1,D1 are amsas, and g1,p(M2),n1 are Nyasas if R1,g1,m1,p(M2),s are amsas.

In this jathi pa and ni are stronger in relation to the other amsas.

Bharata says that sancara in this hathi is like in sadjamadhyama jathi, where all the notes are amsas, so sancara may include any notes in free order. This jathi comprises six amsas, thus sancara advised by Abhinava is like in sadjamadhyama jathi with da amsa.

Jati gita:

16. Karmaravi Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Naisadi, Arisabhi, Pancami

Suddhamadhya

s R1 g1 m1 M2 D1 n1

R1,p(M2),D1,n R1,p(M2),D1,n p(M2) - - - g1 karuna, adbhuta, sringara

In this jathi predominant note is ga, which is not amsa. Bharata, Dattila, Abhinavagupta note that in this jathi movement starting from any note, amsa or anamsa, should be finished on ga.

Kallinatha expalins, that in the context of this jathi, in antaramarga the notes emphasized in sthai varna are amsas, and those emphasized in sancari varnas are non-amsas.

Jati gita:

17. Andhri Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Gandhari, Arisabhi

Sauviri

m1 M2 D1 n1 s R1 g1

p(M2),n1,R1,g1 p(M2),n1,R1,g1 g1 s - s D1,n1 vira, raudra, adbhuta, sringara

Notes: Sancara mentioned by Bharata is between ga and ri.

Jati gita:

18. Nandayanti Jati

Grama

Parent

Jati

Murchana (according to Sangitaratnakara)

Amsa/

Graha

Apanyasa Nyasa Sadava Auduva Alpatva Bahutva Rasa
Madhyama Arishabhi, Pancami, Gandhari

Hrisayaka

M2 D1 n1 s R1 g1 m1

p(M2)-amsa

g1,p(M2)-graha

m1,p(M2) g1 s - s,R1 mandra g1 and R1 sringara, hasya, karuna

Notes: In this jathi mandra ri should be used frequentry. At the other side, melody should not rise above tara sa.

Jati gita:

Rasa is associated with jatis as described in (7), Sangitasiromani: A Medieval Handbook of Indian Music ed, by Emmie Te Nijenhuis.

For detailed information see Expression of rasa via sruti, svara and jati.

References

  1. The Natyasastra. English translation with critical Notes by Adya Rangacharya, Munishiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2010.
  2. Dattilam by Mukund Lath, Motilal Banarsidass Pvt. Ltd., 1990.
  3. A Study of Dattilam : a treatise on the sacred music of ancient India /Mukund Lath, Impex India, New Delhi, 1978.
  4. The Development of Musical Tuning Systems By Peter A. Frazer (http://www.midicode.com/tunings/index.shtml#Contents)
  5. S. Vidyasankar Derivation of the 22 Srutis (http://www.carnaticcorner.com/articles/22_srutis.htm)
  6. Dattilam: A Compendium of Ancient Indian Music by Emmie Te Nijenhuis, E.J.Brill, Netherlands, 1970.
  7. Sangitasiromani: A Medieval Handbook of Indian Music edited by Emmie Te Nijenhuis, E.J.Brill, Netherlands, 1992.
  8. Saringadeva. Sangitaratnakara. English & Sanskrit. English translation by R. K. Shringy, under the supervision of Prem Lata Sharma, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1978.
  9. V. Raghavan (ed.), The Sangitasudha of King Raghunatha, Madras, 1940.
  10. Grama Murcchana Jati by Premalatha Nagarajan
  11. The Traditional Indian Theory and Practice of Music and Dance By Jonathan Katz (Editor), Publisher: brill academic publishers (Sep 1992)
  12. Influence of Sastra on prayoga: the svara system in the post-Sangitaratnakara period with special reference to south Indian music By N. Ramanathan
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